Monthly Archive: January 2012

Jan 30

Que Saudade!

How are you feeling today? Are you experiencing a faint longing for anything? Is your heart a little heavy? Do you feel listless and melancholic? Well you should do, and not just because it’s a Monday. Today, 30th January, is Dia da Saudade. You didn’t know? Didn’t you see the Brazilian Google Doodle today? For those of you who missed it, here it is:

You may find this hard to believe, but I’ve had no formal training. This is natural, raw, diamond-in-the-rough, talent…

 

OK, so Eat Rio and Google haven’t really teamed up (well, in a way, I teamed up with them, but that makes it a rather one-sided arrangement doesn’t it?). I made this myself as apparently Google forgot to check their calendar today.

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Jan 27

Friday Beach Quiz

I know what suckers you guys are for quizzes, puzzles and other chances to prove how clever you are (don’t even bother denying it). Well, it’s Friday, so I will indulge you. See if you can spot what the following three images have in common (there are many correct answers, but I can only accept the answer I have written down on my answer cards):

Ipanema last weekend...

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Jan 25

Clash of the Corruptions

People in Rio are always talking about the upcoming World Cup and Olympics. Will they be a success? What will become of Rio afterwards? Will the pacified favelas be abandoned and left to fall back into the control of drug dealers? What will happen to house prices? The list goes on.

A recent story was that Jérôme Valcke, the General Secretary of FIFA (football’s governing body), has been visiting Brazil to oversee the world cup preparations. Mr Valcke kicked up a storm by stating not only that beer must be sold in Brazilian stadiums, but that it will be sold in Brazilian stadiums. This is in spite of the fact that there has been a law here making such alcohol sales illegal since 2003 2008 (thanks Andre)! His words were:

“Alcoholic drinks are part of the Fifa World Cup, so we’re going to have them. Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant but that’s something we won’t negotiate.”

Highlighting the fact that you're being arrogant doesn't excuse the arrogance. The head of FIFA, Sepp Blatter (also a scumbag), is a big fan of Valcke, saying: "When he began his work as director of marketing and TV in FIFA four and a half years ago, we were in a financial crisis. Currently we have an equity of 752 million Swiss francs."

 

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Jan 24

Beach Trader Barter

We’ve been having some great weather in Rio recently. I felt I should mention it to balance things up because I do like to complain when it’s bad. We decided to spend Saturday on the beach and I finally got round to recording a little audio. When I got home I realised it was pretty terrible quality, so instead of subjecting you to some fuzzy noise, I decided to get a little multimedia on your asses and put the sound of the beach in the background to this rather sweet little scene I witnessed:

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Jan 23

Who is Luiza and why is everyone saying that she is in Canada?

I’m not great with names. When I’m being introduced to someone new, I’m usually thinking about whether to shake hands or do the kissing thing or a million other things are rushing around in my head. I never think of committing their name to memory until it’s too late. This weakness is only compounded by the fact that many of the names used here in Brazil seem quite similar to me. Fabio, Fabia, Flavio, Flavia, Fabricio, Fernando, Fernanda, Anna Maria, Anna Luiza, Maria Luiza – you see my point?

But the name that seems to come up more than any other is Luiza. We went to a graduation party a little way out of town on Saturday night and out of the 10 people in the minibus, 3 of them were called Luiza. I don’t want this to sound like I’m knocking the name – as a matter of fact I like it and before I get into trouble I would like to state categorically that I like everyone I know with this delightful name.

But in the last week or so, something weird has been going on. It seems like everyone has been talking about Luiza. But they never seem to mention her surname. And the only thing they’ve been saying about Luiza is that she is in Canada. Huh?

Gerardo Rabello - the man responsible for all this Luiza talk. I believe that the picture next to him is of Luiza, que está no Canadá...

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Jan 22

Things to do in Rio…

It’s coming up on 2 years that I’ve been living in Rio and during that time I’ve had quite a few visitors. It’s been great having friends and family come over and hang out in my new home town – a chance to catch up on news from home and remind myself how nice it is to chat with someone whose first language is English. As each visitor has come and gone, I’ve noticed the same questions coming up again and again. Is Rio safe? Can you recommend a restaurant or a place to stay? What are the good things to do in Rio?

Well, I thought that rather than just telling my visitors, why not put my suggestions and recommendations on Eat Rio for everyone to see? I thought it would be a fun project to make a collection of all my favourite places, to gather together details, photos and specific recommendations. And so I have begun!

This is my first recommendation under the "Things to do" category.

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Jan 19

Lawyers in Flip-flops!

Rio gets pretty hot this time of year. If you pop out for lunch around 12.30 you may find that your favourite restaurant, which is 10 minutes walk away, will suddenly not seem so alluring. Ten minutes walk in 38°C (100F) heat? Maybe you should just grab some rice and beans from the crappy Kilo restaurant next to work.

 

50°C (122°F)? Really? Like most visitors (and locals too, I suspect) I enjoy quoting these signs when telling people how hot it is in Rio. But seriously, I saw one once which said 54 and it was no more than 35. I suspect these are sun-assisted temperatures, rather than in-the-shade temperatures that are more conventionally used. (from: http://www.rafalopes.com.br/blog/)

 

I know what you’re thinking – 38 degrees isn’t that bad – it was as hot as that when I was in [Torremolinos/Death Valley/Timbuktu] last year for my holidays. OK tough guy, but were you wearing a full business suit at the time? Yeah, didn’t think so!

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Jan 18

This is a public service graffiti

What do you think of this?

"First Graham Bell astonished the world with the telephone, then he spooked the criminals". It isn't very clear, but above this main text there is a telephone number in red with the text "Disque Denúncia" - it's a police number so you can report criminals.

 

I spotted it a little while back near Jardim Botanico and it sent me running for my dictionary. Assombrou is the third-person past-tense of Assombrar – which can mean haunt, amaze, astonish, stupefy, petrify and a bunch of other translations. When I asked a colleague they suggested that in this context you might use ‘freak out’, i.e. he astonished the world and then freaked out the criminals.

Anyway, however you translate it, it’s an unusual piece of graffiti isn’t it? So often graffiti seems to be anti-establishment and here is something encouraging people to inform on criminals!

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Jan 17

The Best Hotdog in Rio

A couple of days ago I told you about my favourite Brazilian food book, Gastronomia de Rua – a guide to 19 of Rio’s best loved street food vendors. I have only visited one or two of the people featured in the book and I would love to cross a few more off. Sometimes the problem is that they sell their wares in some far-flung neighbourhood (compared to my neck of the woods), in other cases the problem is that you have to get up early to catch them. But neither of these things apply to Oliveira, the man who sells what is commonly held to be The Best Hotdog in Rio.

That's quite hotdog! Here in Brazil the word for hot dog is Cachorro Quente - literally 'hot dog'.

 

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Jan 16

The Yakuza drinks White Horse

I had to do a bit of “work” this Saturday. I’m using the quotation marks there to indicate that it was only nominally work, because in fact I went to a bar to drink cachaça. However, it was work because I was on an assignment which hopefully I can reveal in a week or two (mysterious right?). Anyway, I was carrying out my assignment in a bar I’m particularly fond of in the neighbourhood of Catete, not far from where I live. As far as I can tell, the bar is officially named Britan Bar, but the owner is called Zé and so the name that most people use is Bar do Zé. 

Bar do Zé is old and dusty, it doesn’t have air conditioning, it doesn’t look particularly clean and Zé doesn’t seem particularly friendly. For all these reasons it is my favourite bar in Rio.

Bar do Zé - ramshackle in the best possible way.

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